Malala Yousafzai receives conditional offer for Oxford

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Pakistani girls’ education campaigner Malala Yousafzai has received an AAA-conditional offer to study PPE at Lady Margaret Hall from 2017

If she meets the grades, she will follow in the footsteps of former, assassinated Prime Minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto, an alumnus of the college.

Head teachers at the Association of School and College Lecturers (ASCL) annual conference in Birmingham last Saturday heard the news from their guest speaker, who said she would continue to work for the Malala Fund, which advocates for “a world where every girl can complete 12 years of safe, quality education”. Some example of the charity’s work includes efforts to enrol more girls in Pakistani secondary schools, setting up safe space clubs and mentoring programmes in northern Nigeria, and investing in schools for Syrian refugees who are at risk of early marriage, in Lebanon. 

Yousafzai, who previously had also been considering a politics degree at Stanford University (California), confirmed her intent to continue her studies in Britain, after sitting A Levels in history, maths, religious studies and geography at Edgbaston High School in Birmingham. In August 2015, she achieved 6A*s and 4As in her GCSEs.

Malala rose to prominence writing a pseudonymous blog for BBC Urdu detailing life in the Swat Valley under Taliban occupation, aged 11–12. A New York Times documentary made by Adam B Ellick brought her to international attention, and, after a Taliban gunman attempted to murder her on 9th October 2012, messages of grief and support crossed the globe.

Lady Margaret Hall was the first of Oxford’s colleges to admit women. After sitting her interview last December, Malala called it the hardest of her life, specifying that “I don’t want to think back”. On several occasions she has expressed interest in returning to politics in her birth country after Benazir Bhutto’s example. In October 2016, she expressed to a women’s’ issues conference in the United Arab Emirates that she would want to serve as Pakistan’s Prime Minister.

On several occasions she has expressed interest in returning to politics in her birth country after Benazir Bhutto’s example.

Oxford’s Politics, Philosophy and Economics degree has produced heads of state and government around the world. The degree was originally founded in 1920 under the title Modern Greats, and prominent PPEists include multiple British Prime Ministers, US President Bill Clinton and Burmese politician Aung San Suu Kyi. Bhutto, former Prime Minister of Pakistan, took her degree in PPE, studying from 1973 to 1977. A page on the PPE Oxford website boasts that the degree “encompasses specialist and technical training in economics, philosophy, and politics, together with in-depth study of increasingly diverse social and political ideas and history”.

Yousafzai’s prior interest in completing her education at Stanford led to a resolution submitted to Stanford’s Graduate Student Council encouraging her to attend. The motion makes reference to Stanford’s superior sunshine to Oxford, in reference to her father’s remarks on how it receives 300 days’ worth a year. Nevertheless, she has made applications to British universities, including the LSE, Warwick and Durham. That Oxford requires 3 As, and the others 1 A* and 2 As, is a factor in making it her likely destination. 

Malala finished her speech at the ASCL by expressing gratitude to her supporters, saying that she was “really thankful to you all for your support for encouraging me for my mission. That’s what makes me and keeps me so strong, so thank you so much for that, and thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak”. She then received a standing ovation from the delegates.

Alongside thousands of students across England and Wales, Malala will receive her results on Thursday 17th August 2017.



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